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  1. Default Cross country road trip/tent camping and hotel combo

    Have any of you ever done a cross country trip staying in hotels some and also camping some? Pros? Cons?

    Would it be possible to do a cross country trip in just 3 weeks from NC to CA and back?

  2. #2


    Many people straight camp, many straight motel, many do both on the same trip. Camping costs less and you get to avoid restaurants which helps save more money.

    You can drive coast to coast on the interstates in 5 days. So that is 10 days of non stop driving at high speeds which makes it hard to see things as you drive. Now you have 21 days so that leaves you time to spend a day here and there, and or take the US routes instead of the interstates.

    So what do you want to do on this trip? What is your goal?
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 01-21-2013 at 05:15 AM. Reason: Removed Non-Standard Font

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default all the time

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Certainly people do combination camping/motel trips all the time. In fact, I recommend that anyone who is planning a camping (non-RV) trip to budget for at least one night per week in a motel. I always figure there will be, on average, at least once a week where you've got bad weather, can't find a good campsite (especially if touring a city), or just want to spend a night on a real bed.

    As was said, you certainly can head to California and back in 3 weeks. You'll be a little limited in what you can see and do, but it is certainly possible.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    We've done that type of trip several times. One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that sometimes camping will slow you down a bit. It depends on how elaborate your camping equipment is/gets to be, but breakdown in the morning can take longer than throwing a few things in your suitcase and tossing the suitcases in the car. The simpler your camping equipment, the faster you can depart and therefore, how much "time" you make in the car each day. While we do 600 miles a day when motel camping, we did 500 or less when tent camping (and 450 with our old RV).

    When we tent camped, we grabbed a motel every 3 or 4 days, to get a decent shower and a more comfortable bed.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Adding onto Donna's comments, there are a couple other elements that do force you to limit your miles when camping on a roadtrip. Tearing down camp will slow you down in the morning, but you also have to plan to stop earlier in the evening.

    The biggest problem is daylight. It's simply not very much fun to try to set up camp in the dark, especially if you're not very familiar with your gear. When you're traveling in the spring or fall, that can really limit your available hours for travel. Even if you can set up a tent without light, many campgrounds don't allow check-in or set up after quiet hours.

    The other factor is that it is typically going to take you more time to get to a campground, as they are typically located several miles away from the main highways, and you can't just pull off the interstate and into a parking lot.

  6. Default've all given me some things to think about. Our goal is to see some national parks. Glacier is #1 on my list. I also want to see Utah (Zion). My family loves to camp away from all the crowds and even though our girls are teens, they are perfectly content riding bikes, hiking, fishing, etc.

    We have a 38ft travel trailer that we are trying to sell or trade for a hybrid. If we end up with another hybrid (had one before and we miss it), then we would probably end up pulling that.

    Our girls are 13 and 15 and we're so afraid if we don't end up doing this next summer that we may never get a chance to do it before the oldest goes off to college.

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